Infor’s top technology predictions for 2021

This article first appeared in Digital Edge, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on January 11, 2021 - January 17, 2021.
Infor’s top technology predictions for 2021
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Cloud technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and the digitalisation of the supply chain will be the major trends to drive change in business this year.

To begin with, cloud technology will reinvent event experiences. After the US Open tennis tournament successfully pivoted to the cloud and AI last year to enhance the virtual experience for fans who could not attend the physical event, we will see an uptick in physical events leveraging cloud technology to give viewers tailored experiences. 

With 2021 primed to grip the world’s attention with several major events, such as the Summer Olympics in Tokyo and the Wimbledon Championship, cloud technology is poised to completely reinvent what we know about fan experiences today. 

The potential for using cloud technology to transform events is enormous — think real-time crowd excitement analysis to optimise highlights and advertisements, extremely low latency live feeds and moderated crowd interaction — all hosted on robust cloud platforms.

Multi-tenant cloud architectures will be the new gold standard. Using such solutions means companies are automatically kept up to date with the most cutting-edge technology, without having to worry about manual updates or replacing hardware.

Multi-tenant cloud solutions will become critical technology differentiators, helping businesses remain agile and innovative while reducing their e-waste footprints and helping them move closer to their sustainability targets.

We will also be hearing a lot more about AI this year. 

Over the next year, we will see the accelerated adoption of AI across many areas of healthcare. By applying machine learning to real-time global data sets, healthcare professionals will be able to more accurately track contact between staff and infected patients, enable accurate diagnoses, utilise predictive analytics to track personal protective equipment, optimise workforce allocations and develop more effective and lasting vaccinations.

AI will also transform the hiring process. In the unpredictable job market of 2021, it will be critical for organisations to leverage the technology to ensure they find the right candidate for the job. 

AI will enable HR departments to become more proactive in their hiring and help them determine a candidate’s cultural fit by using data to measure the quality of a hire. Innovations such as intelligent screening software that automates résumé screening, recruiter chatbots that engage with candidates in real time and digitised interviews that help assess a candidate’s fit will soon become commonplace in HR departments. 

AI holds great promise for creating more diverse and inclusive workplaces, given its ability to reduce biases and add objectivity into employment decision-making through algorithms that will identify the unique qualities of the candidates.

And, finally, as a direct result of Covid-19, we are going to see the acceleration of digital supply chains in 2021. While supply chain leaders have traditionally viewed digital transformation in the context of efficiency and cost, the focus will now be on agility and resilience. 

A multi-enterprise, digital supply chain enables better end-to-end visibility, better predictive analytics and better and smarter automation. Leaders will be able to customise and flex their supply chains based on market demand and make better use of ecosystem partners. These digital tools such as AI, augmented reality and robotic process automation are expected to shift early promises to impactful value propositions.

AI will be critical for real-time supply and demand matching. As the incredible supply chain disruptions of 2020 unfolded, it became clear that managing real-time supply, demand matching and forecasting were no longer tasks humans can take on alone. 

It is no longer reasonable to expect a supply chain leader to predict when one country’s market will suddenly close and another’s will open, or account for ever-shifting materials and costs — especially as government restrictions on transport and travel change rapidly. 

This year, we will see supply chain managers accelerate their adoption of AI to augment workers’ instincts and experiences and provide them with intelligent insights into changing market conditions, letting them accurately forecast supply and demand in real time.

Fabio Tiviti is Asean vice-president of Infor, a multinational enterprise software company that specialises in business cloud software